Human genome and astrophysics research wins National Prizes
Recipient dedicates award to women and hopes children can imagine scientists not only as “old, white men”, but also as “young women in miniskirts”
The Catalan expert on bioinformatics Roderic Guigó and his investigations on the human genome have won this year’s National Prize for Research, awarded by the Catalan government.
In an event held on Monday evening, the Italian doctor of astrophysics Nanda Rea won an award for young talents, and defended the presence of women in science.
Science “better in democratic nations”
Guigó, leading a research team developing software to predict genes and noting down genome sequences in Barcelona’s Center for Genomic Regulation, aims to better understand the human genome.
He has spent years doing research in the United States and his work has contributed to interpret the information in the genome, and in turn to start using this information.
"[Scientific progress] is better in the most democratic nations"
Roderic Guigó · Scientist
When receiving his award, Guigó said that the stronger a democracy is, the better is its scientific progress, because with the same amount of funds, science is “better in the most democratic nations.”
Young talents award for neutron stars investigator
The National Prize for Research for Young Talents was given to Nanda Rea, whose area of expertise is neutron stars, that is, the remains of stars which have exploded.
Specifically, she investigates magnetars, a type of neutron stars surrounded by the most intense magnetic camps in universe.
Rea works at the Institute of Space Sciences in the Autonomous University of Barcelona campus and has collaborated for years with several space observatories such as one in NASA.
The astrophysicist dedicated the prize to all women who work to achieve their dreams and said that she hopes children can imagine scientists not only as “old, white men”, but also as “young women in miniskirt.”
Prize to Catalan public TV foundation
The digital publication ‘UABDivulga,’ – from the Autonomous University of Barcelona–, La Marató de TV3 foundation – promoting an annual telethon in the Catalan public TV – and Cooperative Automotive Research Network – initiated by SEAT, Volkswagen Group Research and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia – were also given prizes for scientific communication, scientific sponsorship and R&D.